Western Sydney have boosted their A-League finals hopes with a 2-1 victory over Central Coast.Western Sydney Wanderers coach Josep Gomabu has downplayed issues with star striker Oriel Riera and midfielder Kearyn Baccus after his side endured another scoreless second half in a vital 2-1 A-League away win over Central Coast on Sunday.
The Wanderers’ first win in five games lifted them into sixth spot after Brisbane (seventh) lost to Melbourne City (third).
In the proverbial game of two halves, the Wanderers dominated the first in Gosford and should have been more than two goals ahead.
The Mariners came roaring back after the break, pulling a goal back with less than 15 minutes to go and had almost all the worthwhile chances.
Jaushua Sotirio and Riera capitalised on some poor marking to give the Wanderers a 2-0 lead.
“The second half we dropped, maybe mentally with the resolve,’ Gombau said.
However, Gombau and fellow Spaniard Riera were seen in dispute in the early stages of the game and at one stage Brendon Santalab looked ready to come on to replace the Wanderers’ leading scorer.
Santalab appeared to have a calming influence on Gombau and Riera remained on the field and responded to his coach’s request for more movement.
“I asked him to do this we have a little a bit of an argument there but this is normal, this is football,” Gombau said.
“He remained on the field and he scored a very good goal and he did his job very well.”
It’s not the first dispute the pair have had but Gomabu stressed there was no problem between them.
“The relationship is good, but you need to understand you ask the players to do things and they need to follow,” Gombau said.
Baccus, who came on as a substitute late in the game, refused to play against Perth Glory last week after he had a transfer request to a foreign club rejected.
“It was an issue that was there, but it’s resolved and he was here with us and I was happy to have him here,” Gombau said.
“He asked to leave the club because he had an offer, but he’s happy to be here now.”
Wanderers have scored just three of their 20 goals in the second half and Gombau remains baffled by their lack of penetration after the break.
In ther first half, Riera had a header well saved by Bern Kennedy, who also blocked a close-range shot from Mark Bridge, while Marcelo Carrusca blazed over the bar near the end of the half.
Substitute and recent Mariners signing Peter Skapetis gave the home fans some hope when he pulled a goal back with a fine 76th-minute header.
It was his first touch in front of Mariners supporters shortly after going on the ground.
Mariners coach Paul Okon noted his team looked flat in the first half and were lucky to be just two down at the break.
“”If we start the game like we played the second half, I’m quite confident that we’d have a different result, but you can’t whinge or complain when you do that,” Okon said.